Drink-driver says driveway too long to walk

Wealthy widow banned from the road for two years

A WEALTHY widow facing a ban for drink-driving caused laughter in a courtroom when she claimed that she needed her car as it was too far to walk down her quarter-of-a-mile-long driveway.

Barbara Woodward, 56, said the paved track to her rural home was so long that she would struggle to get about. She also asked to be spared an unpaid work order, claiming that it would “put her in an alien surrounding” as she had never worked and it would make her feel uncomfortable.

Woodward was found to be three times over the alcohol limit for driving, at 9am on November 17 last year, when she went out in her £79,000 Mercedes G-class 4×4 to buy sparkling wine with which she hoped to make bucks fizz for friends. It happened two days after the funeral of her husband, a lawyer.

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Police were called after she was refused alcohol at a petrol station then drove at 5mph to a post office near her house in Chelford, Cheshire.

One officer said that Woodward, with make-up smudged across her face, was so drunk she appeared to have been up all night.

She was convicted of driving with excess alcohol and banned for two years but spared the unpaid work.

Her lawyer, Nigel Beeson, told the hearing:

“She had nobody to call upon — no children, no relatives. Yes, she has friends, but they are dotted around the countryside. She has no neighbours and she will struggle to get around.”

A report by an unnamed probation officer said: “She has never had to pay a bill in her life. [Her husband] looked after her in every way. She is now struggling.”

Woodward was also ordered to complete a 12-month community order and fined £560.

Will Humphries

This article first appeared in The Times

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